Bike Petaluma Election Survey – Sara Aminzadeh Candidate for Assembly District 12

How do you get around your district?

I drive an EV and walk/bike whenever possible. 

What role does bicycling and walking play in your vision for the future development of your district? If elected, what strategies/tools/resources would you utilize to realize this vision?

It’s critical that we diversify our commuter options as it reduces vehicle miles traveled and localized air pollution. Bikes and scooters offer a great solution. We must also continue to expand and electrify public transportation such as buses and trains. The state can play a key role in making sure that communities can get to work and school safely and sustainably.  I support tying greenhouse gas reduction targets to transportation investments, increasing the role for CARB in transportation decisions, and incentivising transportation plans that emphasize people powered and sustainable travel. 

What are your district’s biggest transportation challenges? What policies or projects would you promote to address these challenges?

Commuter traffic and the associated air pollution is the biggest transportation challenge in this district. We must expand public transportation, including SMART service, increase EV charging access, and expand and support walking and biking trails for shorter commutes. 

I strongly support the public transportation goals promised by SMART, and my top priorities for optimizing service are resolving the first mile/last mile issues: 

  1. Fund the completion of the vision of the multi-use Pathway that serves north-south and east-west throughout the county and ensure they serve the major bus and train stations, the major employers, and serve our schools.
  1. Connecting the Larkspur train and ferry via shuttle service. A one-year pilot project for this was proposed and has yet to be funded. 
  1. Shuttles connecting SMART to key major employers.

MTC tends to focus on planning studies and I would encourage the entity to lean into a pilot and action-oriented posture. With COVID waning, it’s a time to lean into our transportation future with innovation and action. And if the surplus is invested as I propose below, there would be significant additional funding available for this exact kind of transportation investment to reduce our GHG footprint through vehicle miles traveled. 

Parallel to these SMART optimizing solutions, our next Assemblymember must look at the pervasive traffic and congestion issues around the Greenbrae/Corte Madera and Tiburon interchanges, as well as the Highway 37 corridor project; I frequently hear frustrations from voters about this. 

I’m supportive of a causeway to elevate Highway 37, which would allow for safe passage and restore habitat connectivity beneath the road/freeway and I’m also supportive of modest and expansion of the highway to reduce congestion and of proposals to run a SMART line roughly parallel to 37 on the existing freight line in the Suisun to Hamilton corridor.

I worry the current/recent proposals and vision for the project have made the project too big and expensive to execute and fund. I would urge review and restraint so that we have a version of the project that is actually fundable. It’s unclear where the $4B is coming from at this time, but this is where my experience in infrastructure, state government and philanthropy comes in. I served on President Biden’s campaign infrastructure advisory committee and am intimately familiar with federal funding options. I think philanthropic investments in the habitat restoration pieces underneath a lifted causeway could supplement the project and help us restore critical habitat. National Wildlife Federation recently raised $87M for a Highway 101 wildlife bridge in the LA Area from state grants programs, the governor’s budget and philanthropic foundations. This is the kind of deal and package I could help pull together in partnership with Senator McGuire and the Newsom Administration (who I work closely with). I agree that state funds are needed to trigger federal matches at scale, and I think Dodd’s toll approach is a decent option, provided we can craft a free pass program for lower income residents and commuters.

Why should people who care about street safety, bicycling and walking issues vote for you?

I am the leading environmental candidate in this race with an extensive background in environmental advocacy. Transforming our transportation infrastructure is a key part of our energy transition as we work to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. This is my top priority. The state legislature has an incredible opportunity to work with local communities to ensure that people can live in safe, walkable, and breathable spaces. 

What role do you think bicycling and walking play in addressing the climate crisis?

As I mentioned above, diversifying transportation options and associated infrastructure is a critical piece in our efforts to meet the climate emergency. 

How would you define transportation equity, and how would you work to improve it in your district?

True transportation equity means that every member of our community has the ability to safely and sustainably travel to work, school, or home. Race is the single most significant predictor of a person living near contaminated air, water, soil, or toxic waste sites. Breathing polluted air and drinking polluted water directly contribute to life-long respiratory complications and cancers and congested streets increase pedestrian deaths. If environmental and climate injustices are left unaddressed, existing racial health disparities will be exacerbated. Vehicle electrification will take us a long way in reducing disproportionate localized pollution. In addition, other solutions such as pedestrian only streets, expanded bike and walking paths, and affordable housing near the workplace can improve communities and save lives. 

Do you support AB-1713 the bill for improving bicycle safety at intersections?


Bike Petaluma Election Survey – Damon Connolly Candidate for Assembly District 12

How do you get around your district?

I drive a zero emission vehicle in addition to riding my Marin Nicasio Road Bike. I go 2 months every year without driving a car to see how our transit systems and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are working, and I rely heavily on my bicycle to do this. It is a personal challenge I have been doing as #RideWithDamon for six years, and generally log over 1,000 miles while also encouraging others to join me. I also use my bike throughout the year at least 1 day/week.

What role does bicycling and walking play in your vision for the future development of your district? If elected, what strategies/tools/resources would you utilize to realize this vision?

Bicycling and walking play an integral role in my vision for the future of the 12th AssemblyDistrict. The North Bay is already well known for its beautiful open spaces, but it has been an ongoing effort to make the area more friendly to bikes and pedestrians. As we continue to transition off of traditional transportation by car, and towards Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs),bikes, and e-bikes, it will become increasingly important to invest in infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians, and ensure our communities are connected by safe pathways so that commuting by bike is possible from anywhere in the district. I work on these issues extensively in my current role as a County Supervisor, Metropolitan Transportation Commissioner andSMART Board Member. I am committed to completing the SMART multi-use path and providing first and last mile opportunities and seamless mobility in order to enhance my vision of a fully integrated transportation network with active transportation at its core.

What are your district’s biggest transportation challenges? What policies or projects would you promote to address these challenges?

Congestion is coming back fast on Highway 101 and our local streets and roads are also facing increasing traffic. We need to push for effective, affordable transit that is focused both on meeting the needs of transit dependent riders and bringing commuters back, including to theSMART Train. It also means creating a safe bicycle pathway system that ensures that cycling is a meaningful transportation alternative for riders at a range of abilities. The good news is that we have the opportunity to utilize a portion of budget surplus dollars and unprecedented infrastructure spending to prioritize these needs, including electrification of our transit fleet and increased emphasis on active transportation solutions.

Why should people who care about street safety, bicycling and walking issues vote for you?

Throughout my public service career I have worked to make Marin County a bike-friendly place out of my belief that biking is a healthy and eco-safe transportation alternative. I enjoy biking,and I also rely on it personally for enjoyment, health, and also as part of my job. As a CountySupervisor, MTC Commissioner, and Board Member on Marin Transit, SMART, andTransportation Authority of Marin, I ride to get a better sense of what is working and what isn’t for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in our communities. I believe strongly in pursuing VisionZero policies, and I will always be an advocate for bike-friendly roads and the creation of dedicated pathways. I am also a strong proponent of mountain biking and have worked on effective implementation of our County’s Road and Trails Management Plan, including the creation of new opportunities such as the Ponti Ridge Trail and Memorial Trail in Supervisorial District. As your Assemblymember, you can rest assured that you have an ally inSacramento who shares your passion and is looking out for bicyclists statewide. I’m proudly endorsed by Access4Bikes in this election, as I have been in previous elections.What role do you think bicycling and walking play in addressing the climate crisis?Biking and walking are healthy and eco-friendly transportation alternatives that are integral to addressing the climate crisis. We need to make our cities more walkable and bikeable, which will reduce the need for car travel and reduce emissions as a result.

How would you define transportation equity, and how would you work to improve it in your district?

Transportation equity to me, means that everyone has access to transit that is effective, safe,seamless and affordable, ensuring that no one is denied social or economic opportunities due to lack of transportation. It means that, while we move aggressively toward a greener transportation future for our state, part of equity will involve creating a robust secondary market for EVs and E-bikes and providing subsidies so that people at lower income levels will be able to afford them. I would introduce legislation for faster Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) adoption,current legislation establishes 100% ZEV by 2035. I authored a resolution in Marin County calling on the State to transition to 100% ZEV by 2030, a policy that this year was adopted into the California Democratic Party platform.

Do you support AB-1713 the bill for improving bicycle safety at intersections?

Yes, I support AB 1713.

Community Input

There are several surveys happening right now that are looking for input from people who bike in Petaluma. Please share what you know to help Petaluma improve. 

The Petaluma General Plan has a visioning workshop that is looking for input on what the goals of the plan should be. Start here to tell the city what you want Petaluma to look like before they start writing the plan.
There is also an in person event at the Petaluma Library Branch: Thursday, October 7, 1:30 – 3:30 PM

Bike Petaluma is trying to get Petaluma included in next years Places for Bikes city rankings. In order to do that we need people who ride in Petaluma to fill out this survey about the current state of biking here. Because Petaluma hasn’t been ranked yet you will need to write it in when you get to the part where you put in what city you are in.

There is a Sonoma County Vision Zero survey which is looking for information on where you ride and what areas are dangerous.

POSTPONED EVENT: Motherload Film Screening & How to Join the Revolution

Oct. 25
EVENT POSTPONED, new date to be determined. Due to smoke and power outages, the Petaluma Community Center will be used as a charging and clean air center this weekend, so we can’t screen the film. Stay tuned for more info on rescheduling, we can’t wait to bring you the bikes, the fun, and the film.

On Sunday October 27th from 1-4:30 pm, Bike Petaluma is hosting a free film screening of Motherload, free bike parking, panel discussion on car-free lifestyles, and free cargo bike test rides at the Petaluma Community Center. Motherload is a documentary about getting out of your car and onto a bike. Join us for a community ride to the event leaving Bob’s Beach/Brewsters at 12:30.

Guest post by Bike Petaluma member Camille Esposito, who was the power behind bringing the Motherload screening to Petaluma.

“I first saw a woman riding a longtail bike about 12 years ago. It was a such an inspiration! Imagine riding a bike with kids and groceries and backpacks and not feeling like you were going to fall over from the weight all on the back wheel!? The bike I saw had an Xtracycle Free Radical on it – basically it could turn ANY bike, into a cargo bike. What an amazing invention! It took me a few years to get one since it was about $500 to add one to my bike but the local shop, Bicycleworks in San Anselmo, was a co-op and they sold me a floor sample and hooked me up. I have been riding a cargo bike in some form for about 10 years now. Along the way a friend in Fairfax, Liz Canning started documenting this revolution of bike transportation.  Her film, Motherload, took eight years to finish. I’m so excited that it’s here and it seems like it’s coming at the perfect moment in time. To some of us, cargobiking is a way of life, to others it’s a totally new concept. But it’s something we all need to consider – how we move thru the world and how it affects our planet. Please join us this weekend to hear stories from around the world about the potential of riding your bike as a primary source of transportation, talk to families that are doing it now and test ride all sorts of options from SCBC’s lending library & Bike Partners in Santa Rosa and The New Wheel in Larkspur. I hope that you come away knowing more about what is possible and how you can be part of the revolution!”

Upcoming Events:

  • October 27th: Motherload Film Screening, Panel & Cargo Bike Test Rides, Free event, 1-4:30pm, Petaluma Community Center
  • Ongoing First Friday Bike Banter (5:30-7pm, location varies), next event is November 1st, at Pub Republic
  • Ongoing Second Saturday Community Bike Rides (9:30-11:30am, starting point varies), next ride is November 9th, leaving from Aqus Café
  • November 23rd: Mutant Bikes costume workshop and group ride, Free event, 12-4pm, Petaluma Arts Center

For more info on Bike Petaluma events visit/like/follow/join:

Argus Article: SMART completes bike path across Petaluma

“SMART has spent nearly $57 million on the pathway, about 60% of which has been paid for with grant funding leveraged through sales-tax revenues from Measure Q, the 2008 tax measure. The agency estimates the cost to finish the remaining 40 miles of unfunded path at between $73 million and $78 million in today’s construction costs. SMART doesn’t know when it will have that money or who it will come from.”